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Tributes flood in for ABC radio host James Valentine following cancer disclosure

Tributes have flooded in for the beloved ABC Radio Sydney broadcaster James Valentine, who disclosed on air that he will be taking a three-month hiatus for oesophageal cancer treatment. After discovering his diagnosis, the 63-year-old underwent chemotherapy and radiation and is now scheduled for surgery at Sydney’s St Vincent’s Hospital.

Social commentator Jane Caro expressed her dismay on X (formerly Twitter), stating, “So upset to hear about lovely James Valentine.” She praised his warmth and humor, emphasizing his delightful nature and sending him strength for his journey ahead. Fellow ABC radio host Craig Reucassell also chimed in, highlighting Valentine’s unique style by noting that he was currently interviewing his surgeon on air.

ABC Sydney’s Facebook page was inundated with well wishes from listeners, with Catherine Murphy offering words of encouragement: “You’ve got this James. I will miss you on the radio whilst you fight this. All the best to you and the family both personal and ABC. Thank you for sharing.” Similarly, Christine Gallagher expressed admiration for Valentine’s attitude and confidence in medical science, sending him love and best wishes for a speedy recovery.

Valentine took the opportunity to interview his surgeon live on air, shedding light on the rare procedure he is scheduled to undergo. Associate Professor Douglas Fenton-Lee explained that the surgery, performed only about 12 times a year in Australia, involves removing the oesophagus and a portion of the stomach, then reshaping the remaining stomach into a tubular structure and attaching it to the neck to replace the oesophagus.

Valentine’s media career dates back to the 1980s when he hosted cartoons on ABC TV’s Afternoon Show. Currently serving as the presenter for Afternoons on ABC Radio Sydney, he announced his temporary departure from the show to focus on his recovery.

In addition to his broadcasting career, Valentine is also a musician who frequently performs at music festivals across Australia. Despite his health challenges, his passion for music and broadcasting remains evident, and his fans eagerly await his return to the airwaves after his hiatus.

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